Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall in southwestern Japan on Sunday night, as authorities urged millions to seek shelter from the storm’s high winds and torrential rain.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the typhoon officially made landfall at around 7pm local time (1000 GMT) as its eyepiece approached the city of Kagoshima.
It has a speed of up to 234 kilometers (146 miles) per hour and has dumped up to 500 mm of rain in less than 24 hours over areas of southwestern Kyushu.
At least 20,000 people have spent the night in shelters in Kyushu’s Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, where the JMA has issued a rare “special warning” – one that is issued only when conditions are forecast. witnessed once in a few decades.
National broadcaster NHK, which collated information from local authorities, said more than seven million people had been told to move to shelters or shelter in fortified buildings to weather the storm.
Evacuation warnings are not required, and authorities have at times struggled to convince people to move to shelters in the face of severe weather.
They sought to banish worries about the weather system throughout the weekend.
“Please stay away from dangerous places and evacuate if you feel even the slightest sign of danger,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tweeted after convening a government meeting about the storm.
“It’s dangerous to evacuate at night. Move to a safe place while it’s still light outside.”
The JMA warned the area could face “unprecedented” danger from high winds, high tides and torrential rain, and called the storm “very dangerous.”
“The storm-affected areas are seeing the kind of rain that has never been seen before,” Hiro Kato, head of the Weather Warning and Monitoring Center, told reporters on Sunday.
“Especially in landslide-warned areas, it’s very likely that some kind of landslide will occur.”
He called for “maximum caution even in areas where disasters are not common.”
By Sunday evening, utility companies said nearly 200,000 homes across the region were without power.
Trains, flights and ferries have been canceled until the storm passes, and even some convenience stores – which are usually open all hours and are considered a lifesaver in a disaster – have had to close. .
– ‘As cautious as possible’ –
“The southern part of the Kyushu region could see unprecedented winds, high waves and high tides,” the JMA said on Sunday, urging residents to exercise “the highest possible caution.” body”.
On the ground, an official in the Kagoshima city of Izumi said conditions were rapidly deteriorating on Sunday afternoon.
“The wind is getting very strong. The rain is also falling heavily,” he told AFP. “The outside is completely white. Visibility is almost zero.”
In the Kyushu city of Minamata, fishing boats tethered for safety bounce in the waves, as seawater gushes from the sea and swaths of rain wet the boardwalk.
The storm, which has weakened slightly as it approaches inland, is expected to turn northeast and sweep across Japan’s main island through early Wednesday.
Japan is currently in typhoon season and faces about 20 such typhoons a year, frequently seeing heavy rains that cause landslides or flash floods.
In 2019, Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in Japan when the country hosted the Rugby World Cup, claiming the lives of more than 100 people.
A year earlier, Typhoon Jebi closed Osaka’s Kansai airport, killing 14 people.
And in 2018, floods and landslides killed more than 200 people in western Japan during the country’s annual rainy season.
Climate change is increasing the severity of storms and making extreme weather like heat waves, droughts and flash floods more frequent and intense, scientists say.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)